Inventions Information

Invention Timeline – John Wallis, English Mathematician and Clergyman; Invented the Symbol for Infinity

b.November 23, 1616 and d. October 8, 1703

English mathematician and clergyman. He had consummate skill in the art of deciphering and was one of the first to give power of communication to the deaf and dumb. His mathematical works form three volumes; the principles of analogy and continuity were introduced by him into mathematical science. His interpretation of negative exponents and unrestricted employment of fractional exponents greatly widened the range of higher algebra. Finally he invented the symbol for infinity, ∞.

 Whoso with patient and inquiring mind
 Would seek the stream of science to ascend,
 Must count the cost, and never hope to find
 Rest to his feet, or to his wanderings end.
 The faithless road doth ever onward tend,
 And clouds and darkness are its utmost bound.
 The sacred fount no human eye hath kenn’d,
 Though many a wight, bequiled by sight or sound,
 “Evpnxa!” may exclaim; “I-I the place have found.”
 —The Pursuit of Knowledge: John H. Merivale

John H. Merivale 1505—Scipio Ferro solved cubic equations of the form of x³ + mx = n.

 1541—Tartaglia discovered general solution of cubic equations.

 1545—Lodovico Ferrari solved equations of the fourth degree.

 1596-1650—Rene Descartes interpreted negative quantities and their systematic use.

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